Research news: January 2010
On the 8 May 2007 staff in 1265 intensive care units (ICUs) throughout the world sent a standardised snapshot of their current patients to a coordinating centre in Belgium, where researchers ran analyses to find out the global prevalence of ICU infections. It was very high. On the day, half of patients in participating units had documented infections (7087/13 796 (51%)), most commonly of the lung (4503/7087 (64%)), followed by abdominal, bloodstream, and urinary tract infections. Staphylococcus aureus was the leading pathogen, and half the isolates were meticillin resistant. Pseudomonas species, Eschericia coli, and fungi such as Candida were also common. Acinetobacter, an environmental pathogen intrinsically resistant to many antibiotics, accounted for 9% of infections overall, but regional variation was wide.
Follow-up data from the same ICUs showed that active infection roughly doubled a patient’s risk of death in hospital (33.1% v 14.8%; adjusted odds ratio 1.51, 95%